Consumer Health Digest #15-28

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
July 19, 2015


Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.


Bradstreet search warrant posted. The Washington Post has published additional details about the death of Jeff Bradstreet, M.D., who was found in a river with a gunshot wound to the chest. The local sheriff has attributed the death to suicide, but Bradstreet's family has hired detectives to investigate whether he was murdered. [Miller, ME. The mysterious death of a doctor who peddled autism 'cures' to thousands. Washington Post, July 16, 2015] Bradstreet reportedly treated thousands of autistic children with Globulin component Macrophage Activating Factor (GcMAF), a drug that lacked FDA approval. In February, the British government seized more than 10,000 vials of GcMAF from Bradstreet's supplier, First Immune, an unlicensed pharmacy located in the United Kingdom. On June 18, the day before Bradstreet died, agents from the FDA and the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency raided Bradstreet's Georgia office and seized vials of GcMAF, medical records, lists of clients and associated companies, computers, and financial records. The search warrant has been posted to Quackwatch.


Many herbs and dietary supplements fail ingredient tests. ConsumerLab.com, which has tested over 4,500 products since November 1999, has found that, through July 2015, 20% of the vitamins and minerals, 43 percent of the herbals, 21% of other supplements, and 24% of nutritional powders and drinks failed their evaluations. The most common problem was too little or none of the main ingredient. The other problems included too much active ingredient; the wrong ingredient; potentially dangerous or illegal ingredients; contamination with heavy metals; "spiking" with unexpected ingredients; poor disintegration (which affects absorption); and misleading or incomplete product information.


Roots of anti-vaccine movement chronicled. The Atlantic has published a fascinating article about the struggle over mandatory smallpox vaccination that began during the 19th century and still has parallels today. [Earl E. The Victorian anti-vaccination movement. The Atlantic, July 15, 2015]


Cancer scammer arrested in California. Vincent Gammill, of Richmond, California, has been charged with practicing medicine without a license. [Man arrested for practicing medicine without a license. Ventura County Sheriff's Office press release, July 9, 2015] Gammill, who has no recognized health-related training or credentials, has operated the Natural Oncology Institute, formerly called the Center for the Study of Natural Oncology (CSNO), since 2001. According to its Web site, "CSNO commissions its own studies in areas where knowledge is lacking" and "after reviewing all research available to assist the client in making an educated decision about their health plan and finding the best course of treatment for their specific situation." Gammill also claims to have cured himself of widely metastatic colon cancer. The Sheriff's action was triggered by a complaint from a woman who said she had paid him $2,000 after he promised to cure her cancer.


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This page was posted on July 20, 2015.